North Somerset bus services to transform with £105m improvement plan
Bus services in North Somerset will be transformed over the next three years thanks to a major investment programme by North Somerset Council in partnership with the West of England Combined Authority.
These improvements will also accelerate the decarbonisation of transport – a key priority for the council as part of its commitment to tackle the climate emergency.
Following a successful bid to the Department for Transport (DfT), over £105m funding is allocated for improvements, with £48m earmarked for capital improvements in North Somerset alone. £57.5m will be used as a pooled revenue fund with the West of England Combined Authority to enable delivery of the Bus Service Improvement Plan. The final funding amount will be confirmed by the DfT later this year
At their meeting on Wednesday 22 June, North Somerset Council’s Executive made a recommendation that the Council approves the commissioning plan to deliver the Bus Service Improvement Plan. This will see bus priority measures on key roads including the A370, A369 and A38.
Improvements will include:
- An ambitious fares support package to ensure that buses remain excellent value as inflationary costs impact on the bus industry.
- A significant increase in the current bus network, delivering a comprehensive network of services with frequency standards matched to the population densities and demands.
- Higher bus frequencies in our towns and urban areas, offering a good range of destinations and connections including with rail. Major towns should expect a minimum frequency of 60 minutes, with many increased to every 30 or 20 minutes on priority corridors such as the A370, A369 and A38.
- A range of bus services to support the 24/7 economy, providing improvements to the early morning, evening, night, and weekend services.
- A single bus network with every vehicle and bus stop identifiable as part of the network, through a common brand.
- Reliable, faster and consistent journey times.
The improvements will be delivered through an ‘Enhanced Partnership’ model, to be approved by the DfT. This is a statutory agreement between local transport authorities, bus operators and highway authorities under which each party makes legally binding commitments to improve bus services and the facilities associated with them. An Enhanced Partnership has the potential to bring about improvements quickly, and it puts in place a framework under which future bus service improvements can be delivered as the capital schemes are delivered.